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Costa Rica Will Become World's First Carbon-Free Country by 2021, New President Says

Costa Rica Will Become World's First Carbon-Free Country by 2021, New President Says

Julia Conley, staff writer

In his first speech as Costa Rica's new president, Carlos Alvarado Quesada announced this week a plan to make the country the world's first carbon-free society in just a few short years.

Alvarado called the goal "titanic" but expressed confidence that the forward-thinking country could eliminate the use of fossil fuels in its transportation system by 2021.

One of my friends lives in Costa Rica and loves it. I have never been there…yet!

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Kinda puts the United States of America to shame, doesn’t it?

Its been a long time since the US had ANY “shame”.

The US’ best Congress money can buy likely considers Costa Rica’s rejection of fossil fuel as heresy and may need to start a war with Costa Rica to keep its corporate paymasters happy.

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A rare good news story. But why a photo of wind turbines when almost all of their electricity comes from hydro? Couldn’t they find a picture of a hydroelectric dam?

Only loser, non-Exceptional countries want to breathe clean air and drink clean water.

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+PaulSwanee1. You are comparing a country that has set its mind to becoming carbon-free with a country whose movers and shakers have set their minds to continuing on the profitable to them path of using non-renewable energy resources. It would be interesting to see what America would accomplish if the minds controlling the levers of power decided to go carbon-free.

(yes, I know that those particular minds are extremely difficult for the hoi polloi to influence or replace).

Good luck Costa Rica. Go for all you’ve got.

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Note: you can’t really be neutral on a moving train. The Arctic’s albedo is all changed and so it’s melting down. We can expect Eaarth’s atmosphere to naturally balloon to 1000 ppm CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gases, where most of the new gases are from Arctic frozen methane and other hydrocarbons accumulated over the past 100 million years. So, there’s only a bit of pride in one country hitting the “carbon-free” label. We have a collective job ahead of us.

I’ll believe it when I see it. Just how are they going to travel about? Electric vehicles are pretty expensive. No offense but cheap or at least affordable electric transportation especially without Govt. subsidies is pretty far off.

Excellent point but the population is over 300 million.

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Wrong about who uses the most electricity per capita; wrong to use that as a figure without more explanation; wrong by implication because the US doesn’t use the most energy per capita, either, and wrong because you were either trying to imply something about GHG emissions or you left that out completely. Either one is bad. The US is 11th in electricity use per capita and 9th in energy use per capita.

Iceland is a perfect illustration of why it’s a mistake to use electricity in a discussion the way you do, and not talk about energy and emissions. It uses its cheap, rock-steady reliable geothermal and hydro to supply its own energy and makes aluminum as its biggest source of foreign exchange (much the same way the US Pacific northwest does with hydro). Iceland is virtually 100% powered by renewable energy (RE), and a lot of what’s direct use of fossil fuels in other countries (primary energy–transport, heating, industry) is electrified and uses waste heat in Iceland. It’s hooked into the Nordic grid which is 2/3 RE, 1/3 RE primary energy and increasing both rapidly. (Though not as fast as it needs to.) Norway too, is almost all hydro with some wind and has the highest (and growing) per capita EV use, as a direct result of climate policy. The Nordic grid is also rapidly increasing its already large offshore wind supply, spread through the North Sea area especially by Denmark.

Since a big part of renewablizing energy is electrification, countries that use a lot of renewable electricity are way ahead of others. EVs will take over the roads incredibly quickly even without government help, though of course we should be making it happen sooner through subsidies and education (and stopping fossil fuel subsidies).

There are 21 countries at or near 100% RE electricity and dropping prices on solar, wind and batteries, and the EV revolution will bring many of them near 100% energy very quickly.

Electricity use per capita
1 Iceland
2 Norway
3 Finland
4 Canada
5 Kuwait
6 Qatar
7 Sweden
8 United Arab Emirates
9 Bahrain
10 Luxembourg
11 United States

Energy use per capita

  1. Iceland
  2. Qatar
  3. Trinidad and Tobago
  4. Kuwait
  5. Brunei
  6. Luxembourg
  7. United Arab Emirates
  8. Canada
  9. United States

And the US has 326 million people, so while you’re technically correct and it is more than 200m, clearly once again you have no idea what you’re talking about and are just making things up.

The article didn’t say enough about the difference between electricity and primary energy, or talk about how different Costa Rica (and Nicaragua, inspired by Iceland) are from most countries. What’s usually primary energy is more integrated into the grid there so is easier to renewablize.

Yeah. They’re poor and have no industry so it’s really easy for them to create a renewable energy industry. Sorry, that makes no sense at all. The US is where it’s easiest–the biggest economy in the world to quickly develop its fabulous and varied harmonizable renewable resources. It’s beyond the Saudi Arabia of RE with thousands of times the monetary and infrastructure resources of Saudi Arabia to develop RE. But arfs, anti-renewable fanatics led by the Koch-Exxon-ALEC et al campaign of denial, are determined to criticize, minimize, and ridicule whoever makes significant progress in switching to renewables. And lie about, of course, I’d hate to leave that out. The US has much to be ashamed about; this may turn out to be the worst thing of all.

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EVs are already cheaper over their lifetime than ICEVs, although they cost more up front than the average ICEV so shortsighted buyers aren’t buying them yet. Subsidies help offset the purchase price so a lot of people who couldn’t afford to save that much money can. Soon (probably within 2 or 3 years) EVs will be cheaper to buy and a LOT cheaper to run; at that point a lot of people will trade in their ICEVs in early to save money, and countries now pushing hard against the flow for 30 or 40% new vehicle purchases to be EVs will be getting 80 or 90% without any effort. But it depends on helping the industry prepare and ramp up now so they can supply all the vehicles wanted then. And it will bring lower prices sooner by having more companies in the field, faster development, and drop in prices because of mass production. The same thing Norway and Denmark did for wind and China did for solar panels and is now doing for EV buses.

Costa Rica saves money by spending on social services and actual good things instead of all the bads most countries waste their resources on–like armies and empires. It can well afford the considerable incentives it already provides for EVs and soon enough they won’t be needed. Right now various kinds of subsidies are needed to stimulate production of EVs, renewable energy, forestry and organic permaculture…

In the end, to do all we need to do in the very short time we have, we’ll need public EVs to provide the bulk of trips. A revitalized train system, including a state of the art high speed rail system in the US, connected to Canada and Central America, and hooking into commuter and freight hubs with light rail, EV buses and trucks, jitneys, etc. is needed.

You: “You are grossly misrepresenting the USA with a statement such as this.
The USA has significantly more CO2-free infrastructure than Costa Rica”

You: “demand the most amount of electricity of anyone on earth”

Both statements are completely meaningless–or completely stupid–unless they’re about per capita use. Nearly meaningless anyway because to renewablize, we have to electrify, so it’s not about electricity it’s about energy if you’re only going to talk about one thing. They’re 80- 90% fungible, and what isn’t has to be in the next 7 years. Because you left out so many things your comment was simplistic and deceptive and I was trying to straighten out the readers that you so blithely and willfully led down the garden path.

Me, before: “The article didn’t say enough about the difference between electricity and primary energy, or talk about how different Costa Rica (and Nicaragua, inspired by Iceland) are from most countries. What’s usually primary energy is more integrated into the grid there so is easier to renewablize.”

You: " the USA actually generates a significant magnitude of hydro greater than Costa Rica, "

Of course if does. How could it not? It’s meaningless. The only meaningful figures that must be included in this discussion are per capita energy use, per capita emissions, and the percentage of each source in each country’s electricity and energy use. Once we understand those we can talk about the finer points, but since the whole discussion has left those out (except for my comments)
The only rants are yours, and I know that because I’ve read your comments. I’ll try to avoid that mistake in the future. You rant; I post information-packed comments. You’re welcome.

And PS. Anyone who repeatedly refers to the USA rather than the US is annoyingly and suspiciously jingoistic in my mind. That, in our current circumstances in which the US is by far the most evil and destructive nation in the world, strikes me as ludicrously ignorant and self-aggrandizing. Just, you know, FYI. You’re welcome.

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I made no mistakes. I pointed out yours. You’re just compounding your mistakes now because Pony Boy, whether s/he realized it or not (probably did) is talking mainly about per capita stats.

"Of course Costa Rica will have a higher generation of renewable per their portfolio, because they have better geographical conditions for hydropower in relation to their relatively low population. "
Makes no sense. There’s no characteristic of a small population that makes it automatic that clean safe renewables will be used. People and countries have to have renewable resources, then they have to decide to use them, and while some countries have done that, the US, with arguably the best renewable resources in the world and astounding wealth and infrastructure to develop them, hasn’t. Costa Rica has put us to shame.

You continue to make judgments using meaningless and mistaken parameters that lead to deceptive and misleading conclusions. Then you unload on people who point out that you’re making judgments using meaningless and mistaken parameters that lead to deceptive and misleading conclusions. Please consider the possibility that you’re making a mistake.

It’s as if you were measuring angles using inches instead of degrees. Someone points out that you should use degrees when measuring angles, (because inches are a meaningless measure in the situation, because the answer will vary depending on how far up the angle you measure) and you go off on them for talking about degrees when your post said nothing about degrees. Of course that is exactly the problem–you didn’t mention degrees when degrees are the only thing that means anything here.

The US has fantastic renewable resources in every region, and the money to develop them. It could have developed them decades ago, but instead prioritized the profits of corporations and rich people over health, environment and the survival of civilization. People in developing countries see the US per capita energy use and emissions and think “bastards–what gives them the right?” They do not look at China’s larger total emissions and think the same because China’s per capita emissions are 1/5th of the US’s and the large total is because they have 4 times as many people as the US…

The US’s higher (per capita or total?–see the problem with you leaving out that detail?) electricity use is no excuse, and the fact that not all of our resources are hydro, etc. is also irrelevant. You keep being distracted by, you know, distractions. Meaningless statistics. Or at least the wrong ones in the situation.

Pony Boy, btw, said nothing about hydro, and was referring to the article. The issue is not hydro but clean safe renewable energy. It seems to me that the attempts to deflect the blame from the US and rich people are endless, and only hammering the offenders endlessly with the reality of what they’re doing will change anything.

Or psychotherapy, which I sincerely recommend.

Maybe this will help you get it: Mark 12:41-44

I prefer the King James’ version of most things, but here:

Oh, OK.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Oh, OK.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Let me translate that.

You’ve posted things I’ve disagreed with. You apparently don’t like people disagreeing with you, (especially, I guess, when their arguments are valid, although I have no way of checking that) and are taking extraordinary measures to keep me from disagreeing with you with valid–and perfectly on point–arguments. If you don’t get why that’s hilarious, please see my recommendation above. Everyone needs a sense of humor.